DSU’s very own Tae Kwon Do Club hosted the GTUK University Championships on Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth II Sports Centre, and triumphed in the process.
The tournament brought together competitors from DMU, Loughborough, Warwick, Nottingham Trent, Aston and cross-city rivals, University of Leicester, and the club were assisted in hosting duties by instructors from GTUK, Tae Kwon Do’s governing body.
The championships ran all day, featuring three keenly-contested categories – sparring, patterns and destruction.
And, despite the competitive nature of the event, club chair Carla Chanquia said that there was a friendly atmosphere amongst those taking part.
She said: “You get to know each other, because you see each other every year in competitions, so it’s quite a nice community.”
The event began with each competitor taking the pledges of Tae Kwon Do – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, indomitable spirit and self-control – which are at the crux of the discipline’s ethos.
David Nguyen, society media officer for DSU’s Tae Kwon Do club, said: “Those are the five learnings that underpin Tae Kwon Do and from those five learnings we try to apply that within our lives, and essentially build a more peaceful world with these ideals.”
Carla added: “We try to implement those to everyone. It helps you gain confidence and grow as a person because you apply those tenets to how you train to your real life.
“If you’re a decent person in training, you’re going to be a decent person in real-life.”
Click here to see an album of photos from the competition on Facebook.
With so much organising to do in the run-up to the event, there were understandably a few nerves among some of the club’s members.
Puja Pancholi, vice-chair, said: “The night before and a few weeks before you’re always quite anxious about will it go right and what’s going to happen, but on the day when everything falls together, you kind of think your hard work’s paid off.”
After a long day of intense competition, DMU emerged victorious; marking their first championship victory in the club’s 17-year history, and David said he was thrilled with the achievement.
He said: “Words cannot express of how proud I am of our team's phenomenal achievement in winning the GTUK University Championship 2015.
“The feeling of euphoria when we realised, as a team, we were champions was unparalleled, with our cheers roaring throughout Leicester.
“We would have been unable to do this without our dedicated members, the investment by DSU and DMU towards our club and of course our instructors who go above and beyond the call of duty.”
After Saturday’s victory, David said the club’s ambition was to now win Varsity and to increase their membership, introducing Tae Kwon Do to as many people as possible.
On the subject of Varsity, Carla said that this year she has a real belief in her team, adding: “Last year we were down by half a point, because of not enough competitors. This year we have quite a good team, and everyone seems quite engaged.
“We want to win Varsity this year and we’ve got a good chance.”
With over 60 members, the society is continually growing, and Carla encouraged prospective members to cast aside any reservations and give Tae Kwon Do a try.
She said: “I think people think that a martial art is a really strict discipline, that it’s not fun, I guess, but we’re all friends with each other, we’re like a big family.
“We go out, do socials. It’s not just train hard and feel the pain of training. It’s also quite a nice environment and, after a stressful day at uni, it’s so nice to come here and switch off.
You can find out more about DSU’s Tae Kwon Do club on their page here.